Lawmakers unveil bill requiring animal shelters, rescue groups to disclose bite incidents

A new bill introduced by Sen. Todd Kaminsky would require any animal shelter or rescue organization to disclose whether a dog has bitten someone or broken a person's skin.

News 12 Staff

Mar 12, 2020, 7:25 PM

Updated 1,589 days ago

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A new bill introduced by Sen. Todd Kaminsky would require any animal shelter or rescue organization to disclose whether a dog has bitten someone or broken a person's skin.

The legislation comes on the heels of a News 12 investigative story that brought forth allegations that the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington didn't disclose biting histories of some dogs that were adopted.

As News 12 reported, former workers at North Shore Animal League say the shelter hid the bite history of some dogs, and they said those dogs later went on to attack their owners or other people in the home.
MORE: Concerns arise over lack of laws required at NY shelters to reveal dog bite history to adopters
MORE: Ex-employees say North Shore Animal League hid dangerous history of some dogs

"The News 12 report was extremely disturbing about people adopting pets and not knowing that while in the custody of the animal shelter the pets had bitten people," says Sen. Kaminsky. "So this bill is straightforward and simple. It says that if you're an animal shelter and a dog or animal bit someone in your custody, you have to disclose that fact to someone who's looking to adopt the dog."
The North Shore Animal League issued a statement saying, "We are in support of this bill. Just like us most animal shelters and rescue groups disclose this information already."
A second bill is also being proposed by Sen. Monica Martinez. This one requires rescue groups to disclose behavior history as well, but it also sets guidelines for how dogs and cats should be cared for by shelters.
Gary Rogers, of the Nassau SPCA, says he'll be working to make sure the bills become laws. Rogers says because of the News 12 report, the bills have a good chance of passing.
The measure would apply to dogs that are 4 months old and up. If passed, violators could receive fines of as much as $1,000 per offense.


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